Employee Engagement Surveys: Balancing Feedback with Fun

Employee surveys. 

Just the mention of it, and you can hear the collective groan—from managers and employees alike.

Why do they dread it? Mostly because it’s time-consuming and detracts from the day’s productivity. Not to mention, it can be mentally taxing to answer question after question after question about nebulous things that could and should be.

At Team Engine, we don’t think it needs to be this way...especially for deskless workers who are short on time and on the go. That’s why we created our single-question automated survey function. It’s helped our clients get better feedback more consistently while also helping their employees feel valued.

Below we’ll break down how and why to pare down your employee satisfaction survey for deskless workers using a single question format. Then, we’ll explore some creative uses of single-question surveys that also contribute to company culture. 

Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Less is Always More

Employees dread satisfaction surveys because they’re notoriously long and drawn-out. Many companies also aren’t good at closing the feedback loop. They either don’t share the results of the survey or don’t take action to resolve the issues identified in the responses, so employees become disengaged with the process and stop responding altogether. 

If you want deskless and blue-collar employees to give you feedback, keep it simple and make it easy: ask one question, and ask it via text message.

We recommend the following:

After Onboarding

When a relationship is new, even if it’s going well, both parties appreciate knowing what the other is thinking and feeling. Similarly, after a new hire completes onboarding and heads out for their first day on the job, having the opportunity to share their feedback on the experience signals care and respect from the employer. All it takes is one simple, well-worded question:

Hi [name] - we’re so excited to have you and hope you’re enjoying it here at [company name]! We’d love your feedback. What is one thing we can improve about our training and onboarding process?

Periodic Check-Ins

If you only ask for feedback when employees are new and never again, any future efforts to make improvements will quickly lose credibility. BUT—asking too frequently becomes annoying and can have a numbing effect on their responsiveness. This is especially true when you ask for feedback via text message on an employee’s personal cell phone (which we recommend). 

Every company culture will have different norms and expectations, but we think sending feedback surveys quarterly or every other month is often enough, but not too often. 

Here are some examples of single-question surveys to send employees that will keep them engaged and feeling valued:

Do you have the tools and resources needed to do your job? If not, what would help you?

What was your most recent accomplishment at work? Do you feel like you were appropriately recognized for this contribution?

What two or three things could the company do to help you better manage your work-life balance? 

What are three things you like most about working here?

On a scale of 1 to 5 how connected do you feel with your coworkers? (1= not at all; 5 = very connected)

What’s something we could do to help you better connect with your coworkers?

What are three things that make your work environment difficult or challenging?

What is one way we can improve your safety at work?

Employee Survey - What's Most Important to You at Work?

Writing Your Own Single-Question Employee Satisfaction Surveys

The above are just a few examples to get your creative juices flowing. We recommend writing your own questions based on your company’s goals, strategies and KPIs.

A few rules of thumb to keep in mind when writing your own single-question surveys:

  • Ask open-ended questions, or follow a yes/no question with an open-ended question. You’ll get better feedback this way.
  • Don’t ask about multiple topics in a single-question survey; it complicates the response and interpretation of the feedback.
  • Avoid ranking questions (e.g. in order of severity or effectiveness) to keep responses clear and simple.
  • Avoid asking about the employee’s manager or coworkers, which should be reserved for annual reviews conducted in private and/or larger anonymous surveys.

Using Surveys to Increase Engagement with Company Culture

The flipside to asking for feedback about what you can do better, is asking for feedback about company events, community service, committees, educational opportunities, and more. Getting input and buy-in early in the planning process of these activities makes employees more invested, and thus more likely to participate.

Here are few examples of our clients making excellent use of the single-question survey:

Employee Surveys - Christmas Party
Employee Surveys - Ice Cream Social

Starting up a Sustainability Committee to implement more green policies? Send out a survey to find out who wants to join, or which policies are most important to them.

Planning a Lunch & Learn series, but not sure what topics to feature? Ask your employees where they feel their training and expertise is lacking.

Getting ready for a company-wide meeting and wondering what to put on the agenda? Survey employees to find out what questions they have about the company right now. 

Using Single-Question Surveys to Get an Answer From Every Employee

Sometimes you just need to ask everyone in the company a question, and you need a reply from everyone in return. Ordering uniforms and getting headcount for an event are two common scenarios, but many more exist. It’s hard enough to get everyone in the company to respond, but the problem is compounded when your workforce is distributed across multiple shifts or locations. 

Employee Surveys - Uniforms

Texting out a single-question survey makes it quick and easy to reach everyone at once, and when you do it from the Team Engine software, all responses are stored in a single location in the software. Even better, the recipients of the survey aren’t bothered with others’ replies like they would be on a standard group text. 


The key takeaway here is that deskless workers are more likely to receive a message when you send it directly to their phone via text, as opposed to noticing a sign in the breakroom or hearing an announcement from their supervisor. They’re also more likely to respond to text messages than answering phone calls or emails. So when you have something important to communicate, text it to them!

Team Engine makes texting with employees easy, but our single-question text surveys take it one step further by collecting all responses in one place and giving you the ability to pre-schedule those surveys in advance. Collecting feedback, getting buy-in, and keeping a pulse on employee sentiment has never been so easy...or automated!

Still not convinced? Ponder these four ways employee surveys can benefit your blue-collar workforce.

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